In her second collection of poetry, Mimi Khalvati uses the image of Islamic mirror-mosaic - found in palaces, barber shops and kebab houses. The shorter poems refract one another, the three long sequences act a mirror tryptych, their themes of art, nature, domestic life, memory, east and west draw the other poems together. She establishes a voice and questions its integrity. In many ways, it is a book about becoming, as the poet's children leave home and she must find a changed self and purpose, a new space.
Mimi Khalvati was born in Tehran and grew up on the Isle of Wight where she went to boarding school. After training at Drama Centre London, she worked as an actor in the UK and as a director at the Theatre Workshop Tehran and on the fringe in London. She started writing poetry while bringing up children. Her pamphlet, 'Persian Miniatures' (Smith/Doorstop 1990) was a winner of the Poetry Business competition 1989. Her Carcanet collections include 'In White Ink' (1991), 'Mirrorwork' (1995), for which she received an Arts Council of England Writer's Award, 'Entries on Light' (1997) and 'The Chine' (2002). 'The Meanest Flower' (2007) was a Poetry Book Society Recommendation, a Financial Times Book of the Year, and shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize. Her most recent collection, 'Child: New and Selected Poems 1991-2011' was a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation. Mimi is the founder of The Poetry School and has co-edited its anthologies of new writing, 'Tying the Song' (2000), 'Entering the Tapestry' (2003) and 'I Am Twenty People!' (2007), published by Enitharmon Press.Â
Mimi has been Poet in Residence at the Royal Mail and has held fellowships at the Royal Literary Fund at City University, the International Writing Program in Iowa, and the American School in London. She received a Cholmondeley Award from the Society of Authors in 2006 and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
She has performed her work extensively in Britain, Europe, Turkey and the USA, taking part in international festivals such as Poetry International at the South Bank Centre, British Council Tours abroad and a national tour of Contemporary British Poetry. She is a tutor for The Poetry School and a freelance creative writing teacher.
"I am convinced that while we may tire of brasher voices, Mimi Khalvati's work will endure."Â - Moniza Alvi, Poetry Wales